Sunglasses and sunscreen will get a little extra wear-time this Wednesday, June 21st, for the Summer Solstice. The summer solstice not only marks the first official day of summer, it is the longest day of the year in the Northern Hemisphere too, as our corner of the Earth will be most inclined toward the sun.
The word solstice is rooted in Latin, combining “sol,” which means sun, and “sistere,” to make stand, or to stand still. For centuries, cultures all over the world have celebrated solstices with festivals and joyful rituals, taking the elongated day and extra sunlight as a sign that the sun, the most life-giving star, would continue to be there, shining and warming them.
Take time to soak up light, warmth, and happiness to honor the astrological start of summer with a celebration of your own this year. Gatherings of friends or bonding with your loved ones surrounded by nature are all great ways to spend the gift of the longest day. There are also plenty of community observances happening around New York State to embrace the feeling of the solstice.
Slowing down and finding peace amidst the bustle, hurry, and commerce that characterizes Times Square doesn’t sound like a practical idea on a typical day, but every year on the summer solstice, you’ll find thousands of yogis practicing sun salutations, holding postures, and tuning into their breath on the busiest blocks in the city. Classes are free and run all day long. Times Square | Manhattan. Wednesday, June 21, classes every other hour starting at 7:30 AM.
Photo from Instagram provided by @jepelle
For a more educational experience, visit the Montauk Library for Montauk Observatory’s Summer Solstice: A Lecture and Stargazing with speaker William Francis Taylor, a NASA/JPL Solar System Ambassador. During the hour and a half event, attendees will “explore the science of the sun and the sky, as well as the summer festivals that ancient and modern people have created to celebrate the brightest time of the year.” Be sure to reserve your spot NOW (631-668-3377), space is limited. Added bonus: a night-sky gaze through a telescope! 871 Montauk Highway | Montauk. Wednesday, June 21, 7 PM.
The first annual Summer Solstice picnic, presented by Caribbean food vendor company Two Likkle Birds, will feature authentic Jamaican and American food tastings, activities in the park, and live music at Van Cortlandt Park in North Bronx. 20 West Gun Hill Road | Bronx. Saturday, June 24, 2 PM.
Urby, a 5,000 square feet urban farm in Staten Island, is hosting a farm-to-table feast to welcome the solstice. Urby is run by Zaro Bates and her husband. All produce is grown in a courtyard between two residential buildings -- making this one unique farm very “New York” -- and definitely worth checking out. 7 Navy Pier Court | Staten Island. Wednesday, June 21, 7 PM.
Photo Credit: Urby
Minnewaska State Park Preserve in Kerhonkson is the location for a 14k Summer Solstice run along glacial Lake Minnewaska and through trails featuring breathtaking cliff side views. Minnewaska is in bloom this time of year, and incredibly green. Get your sweat on and connect with nature on this trail run. 5281 Route 44-55 | Kerhonkson. Wednesday, June 21, 6:30 PM.
Wine-tasting, dinner AND a Summer Solstice Celebration? Count us in! Atwater Estate Vineyards is ringing in summer with a special celebration honoring the Solstice. The wine-pairing dinner event will take place deep within the vineyard, during which the winemakers will be on hand to mingle and answer questions. (607-546-8463) 5055 Route 414 | Burdett. Wednesday, June 21, 5 PM.
Photo Credit: Atwater Estate Vineyards